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Media release

Electricity price decision a win for all consumers


Energy Consumers Australia welcomes today’s decision by the Australian Competition Tribunal on electricity network costs in South Australia.

The Tribunal has dismissed an appeal by South Australian Power Networks, which was seeking to recover around an extra $250 million from South Australian consumers over five years.

The Tribunal has instead ruled that the original decision from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), did not contain any errors and the original decision gave SAPN sufficient funding to operate a safe, reliable and secure distribution network.

“This is an important outcome for consumers in both South Australia and across the country,” said Rosemary Sinclair, CEO of Energy Consumers Australia.

“Our research is showing that consumers are concerned about the value for money of their energy services and are keen to see action that puts downward pressure on prices.

“Consumers can draw confidence from the Tribunal’s affirmation of the regulator’s decision that they will pay no more than is necessary for the electricity network to be properly maintained and managed.”

Yesterday’s Consumer Price Index figures showed that electricity prices in Adelaide rose 11.6% in the last year[1], underscoring the importance of ensuring consumers do not face further price pressure.

“We have seen networks challenge the AER’s decision in NSW, South Australia and Victoria, seeking to collect billions of dollars more from consumers.

“The more certainty there is in the price setting process, the more empowered consumers are to make decisions about their energy use and investment.”

Ms Sinclair said that Energy Consumers Australia would be reviewing the decision in detail to understand its broader implications.

“The energy landscape is changing faster than it ever has and the details of this judgement will have an impact on that,” said Ms Sinclair.

“Over many years, the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), Uniting Communities and other advocates have done a great job of standing up for consumers in this process.” said Ms Sinclair.

Energy Consumers Australia has provided significant financial support to ensure consumers voices are represented in legal proceedings around the AER decisions and appeals.

Our Latest Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey is available here.

Energy Consumers Australia was established on 30 January 2015 to advocate on national energy market matters of strategic importance and material consequence for energy consumers, in particular household and small business consumers.

[1]ABS, catalogue number 6401, available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6401.0